The aroma of freshly baked pastries and the charm of the south of France have arrived in the Magic City with the opening of Maman, a French-inspired bakery and café in Wynwood helmed by culinary couple Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte.
Maman took root in Manahattan's SoHo neighborhood in 2014, blossoming into a beloved all-day café with more than 30 locations across Manhattan, D.C., and Philadelphia.
Friday, February 9, marks the opening of its flagship location in Wynwood, the first of six upcoming spots set to open across Miami in the coming year.
The concept, born out of a desire to create a welcoming space reminiscent of home, merges the charm of the south of France with North American culture. Marshall emphasizes, "We wanted to convey warmth, avoiding the cookie-cutter Parisian stereotype and instead creating a unique fusion."
Marshall and Sormonte, both home-trained cooks, remain hands-on in menu creation. "We collaborate with our head pastry chef, Jean Louis Berthet, infusing traditional French techniques with the North American flavor palette," notes Marshall.
Marshall emphasizes staying true to Maman's roots as it expands to Miami, saying, "We don't want to be an overly trendy or healthy café. To us, it's all about balance, envisioning a fresh, tasty salad in one hand and a warm cookie in the other."
Speaking of cookies, signature creations include Maman's famous nutty chocolate chip cookie, which gained notoriety for being featured on Oprah's Favorite Things list. This buttery treat has a brown sugar base that caramelizes and crisps up in the oven. It is generously loaded with whole macadamia nuts, pecans, and almond bits for a satisfying crunch, accompanied by chunks of chocolate that melt throughout the baking process.
The result is a cookie with a gooey filling, oozing chocolate, and maintaining a consistently crispy edge — a satisfying combination of flavors and textures.
Upon selecting Miami for their next expansion, the couple sought a dynamic city comparable to New York, rich in cultural diversity and French appreciation. Marshall expresses excitement about the Miami-New York synergy, saying, "Many New Yorkers came down during COVID, and when we asked our customers where we should expand, Miami kept popping up."
To integrate seamlessly into the Magic City, the team at Maman is prioritizing community collaboration. Marshall states, "We want to feel like the neighborhood coffee shop, engaging with the locals."
Plans include collaborations with local chefs, candle makers, and beverage producers to create unique Miami offerings. The café's interior pays homage to Florida nature, integrating seashells into concrete lamps, as well as banyan tree-inspired accents plus other beach-themed decor.
Maman in Wynwood will offer counter service on weekdays and full table service on weekends, along with beer, wine, and cocktails. In addition, Maman will provide delivery services through their app and Uber Eats, catering to a wide delivery zone to reach those unable to make it to the café.
Bonjour, indeed. (We can't wait to try those famous cookies.)
Maman. 51 NW 26th St., Miami; mamannyc.com.
This story was originally published on February 6.